iRoko Partners, a Nigerian based, digital distributors of Nigerian music and movies and one of the largest and fastest growing black owned internet companies, has raised $8 millions in funding from Tiger Global, a hedge fund run by an early Facebook and Zynga investor.
The company was founded by Jason Njoku, 31, a Manchester University graduate. He told Forbes.com, "Strangely enough, I never wrote a business plan. I never had to pitch to any VCs. I wasnâ€™t even fundraising. After our story was told by Sarah Lacy (formerly of Techcrunch), FORBES, CNBC Africa, Variety and CNN we were inundated with funding inquiries and offers. All inbound. Tiger Global Management, a $9 billion NYC based venture and private equity fund, led the round; they believed [in] our vision. A very simple vision: bringing Nigerian entertainment online. I have always been of the opinion if you build something totally awesome. Investors will find you."
iRoko's sites currently gets 3 million unique visitors from 178 countries spending on average 5-6 hours per month. The firm is YouTubeâ€™s biggest partner in Africa, boasting over 152 million views in 2011. They also have lucrative content distribution deals with Dailymotion, iTunes, Amazon and Vimeo. iRoko currently generate all revenue from advertising but will introduce a subscription based model starting this summer.
Based on my personal experience, I think iRoko's distribution platform has the potential to become the largest digital distributor of black focus content. Among the people I personally know, who whach iRoko TV, none have a Nigerian background. This opens the door for iRoko to distribute other niche content from across the global African and Caribbean community.